Scotland: Edinburgh (part 3)

My apologies, but the hiatus was unexpected for me, too.

The next morning, after seeing the Real Mary King’s Close and dreaming of plague doctors and underground barns, we began the day by eating breakfast in a local cafe. I opted for a typical Scottish breakfast while Jack went for their steak pie instead.

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We set off on foot out of Old Town and crossed the bridge into New Town. The name’s a bit of a misnomer, to be honest, seeing as there are still plenty of historical sites on the other side of the bridge.

Once across the bridge we visited the Old Calton Cemetery and other monuments on Calton Hill. The strange thing about Edinburgh’s cemeteries (as we would later learn that night) is that they’re common destinations for family outings or picnics. That’s what the tour guide would say later that night, anyway. As it was, we did find a few people lunching inside a crypt and thought it a little strange at the time. The other monuments, including a mini-Pantheon-like structure and the Dugald Stewart Monument were stunning.

Coming down from Calton Hill, we found ourselves a lovely Italian restaurant but decided for the sakes of our wallets that we’d have a Tesco Meal Deal instead. We made our merry way down to the Nelson Monument and then readied ourselves for some modern art.

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Once we entered the Scottish National Gallery though, we knew we had made a mistake.

“Oh no!” exclaimed Jack, as we saw the stereotypical squares of colour.

IMG_20141027_124956Needless to say we were out of there fairly quickly. Some exhibits were interesting, to be sure, but I really do think modern art is so much more enjoyable when some sort of explanation or rationale is provided. By this time we had to grab dinner so we ate at a Valerie Patisserie (confit of duck leg for Jack and sad-violi for me, but delicious dessert for both of us) before going on to a night tour.

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Though the tour (called the Dark Side of Edinburgh) was chilly we enjoyed walking through Old Calton Cemetery and Calton Hill (again!) as well as through the streets and allies of seedy Edinburgh, where murderers and vampires were reputed to have lived. I also swear I saw a will-o’-the-wisp in the hills going up to Arthur’s Seat, but only a few of us in the tour group saw the blue light and the rest were mystified.

IMG_20141027_205441At last, the day was over and we decided to warm up in The Elephant Room, known as the cafe where J.K. Rowling wrote much of her Harry Potter series. Our last few memories of Edinburgh at night included a beer for Jack and a steaming pot of lapsang souchong for me, a tea so smoky I thought it better than the Islay whisky Jack had tasted the day before.

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Good night Edinburgh; good morning Glasgow.

 

 

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